Author Archives: Doug de Grood

Staying Safe When Buying or Selling On-line

On-line advertising is a great way to buy and to sell items.  Searching for items for sale, or listing items to sell, has never been easier, quicker, or cheaper as it has been with the use of internet and sites that specialize in this type of advertising.  As with everything that is good, people with ill intent find ways to take advantage, so it is important to take safety precautions when meeting unknown persons to buy or sell property.

craigslist-ebay-kijiji-yahoo-autos-cars-alpha1Most people don’t consider their personal safety an issue when it comes to selling or buying items on-line.   However there have been numerous incidents across Canada recently that should have you at least thinking about it.  If you are thinking “it wouldn’t happen to me”, I challenge you to type the name of a popular on-line advertiser along with “robbery” or “robbed” into your internet search engine and behold the results.  The most preeminent case in Canada occurred this past May (2013). Tim Bosma, a husband and father from Hamilton, ON was reported missing and later discovered murdered, after taking two unknown individuals who were interested in buying his pickup truck on a test drive.  Mr. Bosma had advertised his truck on-line.

Personnel safety planning is important when you are considering on-line advertising to buy or sell.   

Here are some tips that can help you stay safe when meeting a stranger to buy or sell an item: 

1)     Do not share any personal information such as your full name, address or home telephone number.  Most websites set up for advertising allow potential buyers to initially contact sellers through e-mail.  Only give out enough information to help you buy or sell the product as you are dealing with a stranger.

2)     If you need to use a telephone number use a cell phone as it is harder for someone to find out personal information about the owner of cell phone numbers than your home telephone, especially if your home telephone number is listed.

3)     Always have a friend or two with you when you buy or sell items.  There is safety in numbers.

4)     Arrange meetings with the buyer or seller in an agreed upon public area and during day light hours.  If the other party changes the arrangements at the last minute be wary.

5)      If the meeting has to be done in your home make the meeting a two-step process.  Meet in a public area close to your house and ask them for some form of official identification, such as a driver’s license and make note of the person you are dealing with.  If you are comfortable after meeting them, then have them follow you to your house.    If more than one person enters your house make sure you keep them together.

6)     If you are buying an expensive item consider making two meetings with the seller.  The first to view the item, gather information about it and to judge the character of the person selling it.  The second to exchange the money.  Most people selling big ticket items won’t mind doing this if you are upfront about it.  Tell them you want to view it first and if you are interested you will come back quickly to buy it.

7)     If things seem suspicious then don’t follow through with the deal.

 

These tips only deal with personal safety and not becoming a victim of violence. There are many other safety tips concerning fraudulent sales and scams that can be found on the internet sites used to sell items.    I highly recommend reading them prior to posting an item for sale.

Dean Hamm, S/Sgt. “K” Division Community Policing

July Column, Ending Domestic Violence in Alberta: The Shift to Primary Prevention

Welcome to the July column. This month, we have invited the contribution of Lana Wells, the Brenda Strafford Chair in the Prevention of Domestic Violence, housed at the University of Calgary Faculty of Social Work. Lana is also a Fellow at the School of Public Policy and has held leadership positions in numerous non-profit organizations, including the United Way of Calgary and Area. Her areas of expertise include family violence, gender, social justice, and the non-profit sector.

shiftIt is my pleasure to share this piece with ACCPA members, who span sectors integral to ending and preventing domestic violence – a pattern of behaviour which involves the abuse by one partner against another including physical aggression or assault, sexual abuse, emotional abuse, passive/covert abuse (neglect) and economic deprivation. I wanted to focus this contribution on the role of primary prevention in ending domestic violence in Alberta.

Alberta has the 5th highest rate of police reported intimate partner violence and the 2nd highest rate of self-reported spousal violence in Canada. This violence has ongoing and intergenerational impacts that are devastating to victims and their families, and society as a whole.

A recent study estimates that over the past five years, domestic violence has been costing Albertans over $600 million in basic health and non-health supports. As with other crime prevention measures, quality initiatives can effectively reduce negative social impacts while providing cost-savings, returning as much as $20 for every dollar invested.

Introducing SHIFT: The Project to End Domestic Violence

In my role as the Brenda Strafford Chair, I initiated SHIFT: The Project to End Domestic Violence. SHIFT is an innovative initiative aimed at transformational change using a primary prevention approach to stop first-time victimization and perpetration of domestic violence. Using accessible research and working collaboratively with a diverse range of stakeholders, SHIFT aims at ultimately ending domestic violence in our province.

Over the past two decades, Alberta has introduced legislation at the forefront of violence protection measures both nationally and internationally. Two ground-breaking acts, the Protection Against Family Violence Act (PAFVA) and the Children, Youth, and Family Enhancement Act (CYFEA), have dramatically improved police and judicial responses to all aspects of domestic violence and enhance protection. They also send strong messages that abuse will not be tolerated in this province. PAFVA has dramatically improved victims’ access to protection orders in emergency situations, while the CYFEA addresses children’s exposure to domestic violence.

Despite significant gains in developing a solid crisis-response model, the negative social, health and economic impacts of domestic violence are far too great to limit our focus to intervening after violence has occurred. An equally robust model for the prevention of domestic violence is required. Continue reading

Call to Action!

With Crime Prevention Week rapidly approaching (May 12-18) this is a reminder to all of our wonderful members to submit their crime prevention events to the Alberta Community Crime Prevention Association for inclusion on our website. Please send your submissions to the Executive Director, Lillian Jones at illian@albertacrimeprevention.com.

Welcome once again to the ACCPA column.  As one of the longest standing board members, I have been asked to address three topics this month:

  1. What is currently happening with ACCPA;
  2. How the dynamics of the board have changed; and
  3. How exciting change can be?

If you have been involved in any organization long enough, you will likely have experienced both the ‘good’ and ‘not so good’ times. Like the stock market, they seem to be inevitable consequences as economic, politics, and social values ebb and flow. Having been a Board member with ACCPA since 2006, I have experienced both the ‘ups’ and ‘downs’. When I first joined this amazing organization the Alberta economy was booming and so was ACCPA. The Solicitor General, who was our main source of funding, had the resources available to allow ACCPA to conduct special projects as well as facilitate crime prevention conferences. Then, this past year, along came ‘hard’ times leaving the Ministry in a position where it was forced to make some tough decisions and unfortunately funding to ACCPA was an area that got cut. With fewer dollars available the Board had to roll up their proverbial sleeves and look for alternatives. Our present Board is a very dedicated group of individuals and tend to see the glass as half full so they have stepped up to the challenge. We are presently, and will continue, seeking new opportunities and partnerships to invest in a provincial oriented organization that is on the cutting edge of crime prevention and public safety for the citizens of Alberta. Continue reading

February Column: Those who do not prevent a crime when they can, encourages it…

First, thank you for visiting the ACCPA website and the launching of this new column which we hope will become a regular monthly feature.

 As this is the first entry, please allow me to provide a more general introduction to what has inspired ACCPA to become an association that strives to strike a balance between conventional formal criminal justices responses (i.e., police, courts, & corrections) to evidence-informed alternatives generally referred to as crime prevention strategies and initiatives.

As much as crime is a social construct that is reflective of the norms and values of a society, it also speaks to the social ills within a society. That is, there is a rich body of research which suggests that we are essentially social beings who strive for a sense of belonging, a sense of communalism, and being empathetic towards others. As the saying goes: ‘no man/woman is an island unto him/herself’. However, when people are confronted with challenges of acceptance, assimilation, or simply access to equitable opportunity this tends to promote dis-ease not only within individuals but also within societies. This sense of dis-ease increases the risk of possible rebellious, anti-social behaviour – and in some cases behaviour that is proscribed as illegal in accordance with the Canadian Criminal Code.

In spite of what official statistics might tell us about the ebb and flow of crime trends and patterns, crime is omnipresent. Who does NOT know someone who has been a victim/survivor of a crime – be it theft, break-and-enter, vandalism, fraud, etc.? When was the last time you watched/listened to the news without hearing about a crime being committed somewhere? Continue reading